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Italy Bike & Boat: Venice to Mantova - Vita Pugna

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.9 Read 14 reviews
  • Two nights on-board in Venice, the most romantic of cities
  • Exploring Venice, Ferrara and Mantova, jewels of the Italian Renaissance
  • The tranquillity and birdlife of the Po Delta Nature Reserve
  • Authentic regional cuisine, both simple and refined
  • Easy cycling on flat cycle paths and quiet country lanes
Experience Venice, Mantova and Ferrara, each a jewel of the Italian Renaissance, on an easy going bike and boat cruise from Venice to Mantova. Cruising from Venice through the Po Delta Reserve you will experience the tranquillity, nature, beauty and birdlife in a unique way. Your adventure starts with two nights on-board in Venice. You will explore Venice with a local guide who will help you discover the city of timeless beauty. Take in St Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, the Torre del Orologio, the Bridge of Sighs or just relax with a cappuccino and watch the world float by. On day three you jump on your bikes, island hopping to Chioggia - a bustling and colourful fishing harbour known as little Venice. Your journey then takes you on cycle paths and quiet country roads through the Po Delta Nature Reserve; a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of vast wetlands, woodlands and forests, which is home to over 300 species of birds including the pink flamingos at the Salina di Comacchio, the old salt works. Ferrara, a beautiful city, half medieval, half Renaissance, is the next highlight of your trip. Alternating between bike and boat we soon reach Mantova, a little visited cultural gem, with its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio, and its surrounding countryside. Trips depart every Saturday from Venice on either the Ave Maria, a premium boat with a capacity of 40 guests or Vita Pugna, a traditional Dutch barge that sleeps 21 guests. Our floating hotels are feature fantastic food, comfortable cabins, great service and large public spaces. You can choose to cycle either with a guide as part of the group or on a self-guided basis with the help of our detailed route books. Your bike and boat trip includes 7 nights on-board in ensuite double/twin cabins on a full board basis, bike hire, guided or self guided cycling and guided tours of Venice and Mantova.
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What To Expect

The perfect introduction to cycling in Italy. Ideally suited to beginners this bike and boat cycle route follows flat cycle paths and quiet roads. Great boats, wonderful food and fabulous cities and sights along the way.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.


Bike and Boat | A combination of cycling and cruising or sailing, your overnight accommodation will be on boat or barge style accommodation.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, First Timers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 10 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Foodie Adventures


Grade & Terrain

This cycling trip is graded easy, with routes on flat tarmac cycle paths along the flats of the Po plains, canals and quiet country roads (terrain: 95% tarmac and 5% unpaved). The daily distances vary between 25 and 55 km (16 and 35 mi) and the max. ascent is 20 m. The boat is moored at night and typically sets sail after breakfast, meeting up with the bikes in the afternoon. Some parts of the itinerary are undertaken by boat to allow easier access onto cycling paths, or simply to enjoy the cruise through the Venice lagoon.


The program has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero-Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantova to the Adriatic Sea. Issues with high and low water, as well as logistic obstacles can modify some of the daily stretches or overnight stays. These decisions are taken by the boat’s captain.

Guided or Self-Guided: You can choose to bike either on a self-guided or guided basis at no extra charge. The detailed directions and maps supplied with your info-pack offer you the option of either cycling independently or with the rest of the group, following the Tour Leader. When booking this bike and boat tour, please specify your chosen option (i.e. Guided or Self-guided).

Accommodation Information

You will spend each night on the Vita Pugna barge in your very comfortable cabin. Your boat is always docked at night and only sails during the day.

Vita Pugna

The Vita Pugna is a comfortable, romantic dutch barge with a maximum capacity of 23 guests in 10 standard twin cabins. All cabins are air-conditioned and are equipped with comfortable low twin beds (bed sizes are 1,90/2 m x 0,75/0,80 m), en-suite facilities, hair-dryers (on request), a complimentary courtesy kit and a safety box. Cabins have traditional portholes, which can be opened for fresh air. Enjoy delicious meals in the spacious air-conditioned lounge/restaurant and a refreshing drink upon arrival on the sundeck.

Single Cabins and Solo Cyclists

Single cabins are available, although a supplement is payable. This trip is available to solo cyclists and is perfect as there are plenty of people to chat with every day.


This trip is operated on a full board basis (breakfast, dinner and a self-made packed lunch) with all meals included from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8. Coffee, tea and other hot drinks on board are included. Beverages are not included, the boat sells a good selection of wine and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

In Italy, they know a thing or two about pots and pans, and on-board catering is simple but subtle, with a good selection of local wines and excellent service. The chefs boast plenty of experience and, in the words of our clients, the food alone is worth the trip.

Here are two sample menus:

1- Linguine with asparagus, rare roast beef with fresh rocket leaves and stuffed tomatoes, Venetian mixed salad, tiramisu.
2- Freshly caught seafood in wine and herbs, seabass meunière with baby potatoes, fennel and orange salad, chocolate and cherry mousse.

  • 7 x Overnight in a comfortable cabin
  • Full Board
  • English-speaking tour leader onboard
  • Guided tour of Venice and Mantova
  • Bike Rental including helmet
  • Bus transfer Ferrara to Zelo / Ferrara to Adria
  • Harbour charges
  • Detailed information pack, route description and maps
  • Visit to cheese factory, with tasting of Grana Padano
  • Local support and 24/7 emergency support from our office
  • Travel to Venice / from Mantova
  • Personal Expenditure
  • Ticket for public transportation in Venice and lagoon
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Venice Municipality Access Fee (to be paid locally)
  • E-Bike Rental
  • Additional nights

When To Go

This Italy Bike & Boat tour starts in late March and runs to mid-October on alternate boats (Vita Pugna and Ave Maria). Peak season is between June and September and does book up well in advance. Please contact us as soon as possible so that we can advise on the latest availability.

The boat’s journey will cover 3 Italian regions: Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Veneto. Generally, you will find mild temperatures in spring and autumn, while in summer (July-August) the weather is definitely hotter and humid with refreshing rain showers every now and then. Always make sure to carry plenty of water to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen and a sunhat on hot days.

Bike & Boat tours require a minimum number of participants for each departure to go ahead. Should a departure have insufficient participants, you will be notified in good time, and you can change your departure to an alternative date. For more information, please speak to one of our team.

Getting to the Start

By Air:

Both Venice and Mantova are well served by many airports of Northern Italy: Venice (VCE), Treviso (TSF),Verona (VRN), Bergamo (BGY), Milano Malpensa (MXP), Milano Linate (LIN)

By Railway and Car:

Mantova is situated on the A22 Highway Brennero–Modena, only 50 km south of Verona. By train it is connected very frequently to the railway station of Verona (journey: 45 min.) Venice is situated on the A4 highway and on one of the principal railway lines, which links Venice to the most important Italian cities. The journey Venice–Mantova (or opposite) is covered by train in approx. 2,5 hours.

Your pre-departure information pack has detailed information on how to reach the start/end of the trip including maps, timetables etc. so that you can plan your travel well in advance.

General Information

All Bike & Boat tours made with Macs Adventure are subject to booking conditions that are different from our standard terms and conditions. Please make sure that you read these Bike & Boat booking conditions carefully, prior to booking your trip.

Included in your tour package are the following cultural activities:
- Guided visit in Venice and Mantova
- Visit a cheese factory with tasting of typical Grana Padano
- Visit a Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
- Visit a historic glass factory on Murano Island


Bike Rental: Included in your tour package is a comfortable 27-gear touring bike (Shimano Deore). The bikes are puncture-proof, fully serviced and equipped with a trip computer, one-sided saddlebag, and padlock. Additionally, self-guided cyclists are supplied with a map holder/front bag (1 per bike) and a repair kit (1 per couple). The rental bikes are unisex and have insurance against theft and damage. 

It is possible to hire a 9-gear e-bike (Shimano) at an additional cost, please let us know at the time of booking because these are in limited supply. We recommend never cycling without a helmet and to bring your own to guarantee the best fit. It is possible to hire helmets locally free of charge, please let us know during the booking process.

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Day 1: Arrival Venice & Embarkation Day 2: Discover Venice Day 3: Cycle Lido & Pellestrina Islands 19 miles / 30 km Day 4: Cycle the Po Delta Nature Reserve 25 miles / 40 km Day 5: Cycle Adria to Zelo 22 miles / 35 km Day 6: Cycle Zelo to Mantova 31 miles / 50 km Day 7: Circular ride from Mantova 22 miles / 35 km Day 8: Disembark & Onward Travel

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